Back to Nature (Published on - May 10, 2007)
Paying tribute to Mothers of the Earth
Photo by Rick Tremmel
Limpkins and chick – hunted to near extinction by the 1920s the Limpkin is making a slow comeback in protected habitats. The Limpkin feeds on snails, primarily Apple snails.
Everywhere we look it seems we are reminded of our beautiful planet in peril and yet there are still many heads and minds to turn. In a single week I heard three genuinely meant comments that I found stunning.

– While standing in a line at a restaurant, beautifully surrounded on one side with wetlands and numerous birds including sand hill cranes and storks, a woman complained to the hostess. “They need more parking here. There’s plenty of room over there. They need to fill that up and pave it ... make more parking.”

– An insensitive young woman, with a misguided passion for the environment, briskly commented to an elegant lady who, unbeknownst to the young woman, has been a crusader of the environment for many years, “Why do you care? You aren’t going to live long enough to see what happens anyway.”

– In Seminole, upon watching a cat from a few doors down climb her tree to get at the birds in her yard, the woman said with a sigh, “I wish the neighbors would keep their cats out of my garden.” To this another neighbor responded, “I let my cats out too. I think they have as much right outdoors as the birds. Anyway I dislike birds.” She shivered, “I don’t want them around me, so I’m glad the cats take care of them.”

I think I must be living on an alternate plane or perhaps another planet sometimes. While great focus is on Go Green at this time, we assume everyone is educated about the environment. It just goes to show we have a long way to go.

“The greatest danger to our future is apathy.” – Jane Goodall

We need to take the opportunity to honor those who do what they can in their own special way. Perhaps a simple gesture is to build a butterfly garden, or put up feeders and bird baths. We also need to take the opportunity to honor those who have devoted their lives to saving our planet, wildlife and our environmental future. Perhaps you know a someone that scatters bread crumbs upon her patio or plants a tree at her church or perhaps you know a someone who’s an all-out crusader.

It is uplifting to consider the passionate environmental crusaders of our past and present. It is also humbling and inspirational to learn about the lives of these great environmentalists. Who are these crusaders? In honor of Mother’s Day let us consider, remember and pay tribute to a few “Mothers of the Earth.”

• Maria Bode – took an active role in organizations concerned with the environment such as: the Audubon Society and Nature Conservancy.

• Rachel Carson – writer of The Silent Spring: This book is about the dangers of pesticides and how they affect our environment and humanity.

• Marjory Stoneman Douglas – unforgettable, tireless defender of the Everglades. Marjory remained a key figure in saving the Everglades until she passed away at the age of 104.

• Rosalie Edge – passionate conversationalist of the 1930s, her legacy includes both the prominence of women in the environmental movement and a wildlife refuge named Hawk Mountain.

• Dian Fossey – traveled to and lived in Africa conducting close up studies on mountain gorillas and ultimately established the Karisoke Research Center, Zaire, in 1967.

• Maneka Gandhi – Indian politician, ardent animal rights activist and a former journalist.

• Jane Goodall – worked for the conservation of chimpanzees in the wild and for better conditions for chimps in zoos and research institutions.

These courageous women among their male counterparts fought and met the difficult challenges of our past. Although there may be greater challenges in the future the changes these women brought about have helped us be who we are today.

“There are an awful lot of scientists today who believe that before very long we shall have unraveled all the secrets of the universe. There will be no puzzles anymore. To me it’d be really, really tragic because I think one of the most exciting things is this feeling of mystery, feeling of awe, the feeling of looking at a little live thing and being amazed by it and how it has emerged through these hundreds of years of evolution and there it is and it is perfect and why.” – Jane Goodall

Humanity has so much farther to go to save this beautiful, forgiving planet we borrow. Every effort, no matter how small or large it may seem, is one more tree, one more flower, one more bee, one more bird, one more for the good gals. As we honor all mothers this week, let us not forget those eternal earth mothers that play a part in making our planet a better place to live for today and tomorrow ... back to nature.

Karen can be reached at

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